The original football pools were almost like a forerunner to the National Lottery, with the chance to get rich quick proving irresistible to the nation. Winners became millionaires overnight and many ended up being mini-celebrities either due to their success… or because of their subsequent fall from grace. Just ask Viv Nicholson.
Their heyday was in a different era, with reps going door to door to collect people’s coupons and their money creating something of a social aspect to the activity, but all good things come to an end as they say.
Whilst the football pools still exist their popularity has dropped significantly, but in recent years some new pools-style products have hit the scene and grown massively in popularity.
What is Pool Betting?
The concept of pool betting can be applied in a number of ways, but the basic principle is that instead of fixed-odds determining how much you would win from a successful bet, the payout is determined by how much money was staked on that market and by how many winners there are.
In some countries, notably France, Australia and the USA, this form of betting is the standard. Another name for it is pari-mutuel betting, and whilst the bookies will give an estimate of what the odds might eventually be, your exact returns are not known until after the event.
The total amount taken on the event is first subject to any taxes or fees, then the operator – be that the bookie, government or whoever is running the betting – take their cut before the remaining pool of cash is divided proportionately among those who backed the winner according to how much they wagered. This way, those who staked the most win the most.